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News From Cook’s Corner 6.1.20: Save Black Lives

So last week I closed News From Cook’s Corner with a guarantee that next week would be better. Welp…



So last week I closed News From Cook’s Corner with a guarantee that next week would be better. Welp…

I mean, I was kind of right. Professional wrestling news wasn’t nearly as depressing or disheartening over the past week. Unfortunately, the rest of the world more than made up for it. I never really know what to say when these things pop up, as I feel like I have little authority to speak on matters of racial justice. I’m a Caucasian from Kentucky that’s never had to worry about the idea that police wouldn’t protect me. My experience is not the experience of other people.

On one hand, I find it hard to believe I’ve benefited from racial privilege, because it’s not like my status in the grand scheme of things is all that great. One look at my rusted out Chrysler Concorde would tell you that. On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about being shot at if I have my hands in my pockets. I’ve never had police break into my house. If I got arrested for some reason, which I don’t plan on any time soon, I assume I would make it to the hoosegow in one piece. Heck, they might take me to Burger King if I ask nicely.

I know there is a percentage of you that don’t want to hear about these things in a wrestling column. You want my takes on pro wrestling & nothing else. I understand that, but I feel like I would be doing a disservice to the situation if I ignored it. I’ll address it one time, and then I’ll shut up and listen, as us white folk should probably do at this point.

Things need to change, and we need to play our part in that change. It’s become blatantly obvious we can’t trust our elected leaders to lead the way. The people at the top of our government got there by dividing the people, not uniting them. Uniting people is not in their best interest, and they won’t do anything that’s not in their best interest. Any true change in the way things are will need to start from the ground up. As little as we think our voice matters, it can still create change in concert with others.

Hopefully you’ll bear with me up on my soapbox for a little bit longer, as I offer my respect to the many pro wrestlers out there that have also commented on the situation in a responsible manner. That might cost them some fans & some social media follows, but some things are more important. Wrestling’s racial history is complicated just like society’s, and while great strides have been made by the current generation of wrestlers of color, there’s still a long way to go. Here’s hoping that people of color can continue to prosper in wrestling, and that those standing in the way either change or get out of the way. Pro wrestling is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but it’s also a reflection of society. Promoters that refuse to book wrestlers that make their opinions known are merely re-enforcing the current system.

Whether you like the current system or not, it’s not going to work long-term. The reaction gets louder every time. Our leaders might not have to worry about it because they won’t be alive too much longer, but those of us in the 18-49 demographic will have to address it. If I had the answers…well, I wouldn’t be launching into a wrestling news column.

But here we are.

WWE News

Matt Riddle is on his way to SmackDown, and WrestleTalk reports that Dominik Dijakovic is also expected to start on the main roster soon. I know that the success rate of NXT wrestlers on Raw & SmackDown is certainly hit or miss, but I can also see Riddle & Dijakovic doing very well. Both guys can work, and both guys also bring unique qualities to the table. Riddle has a certain charisma about him that should translate well to a network audience. People just seem to like him. As for Dijakovic…well, feast your eyes. Big, jacked dude that can do some big spots. You know Vince McMahon sees some potential in that guy.

I know the easy argument to make is that both guys will flop on the main roster because that’s what almost always happens. I’m willing to give it a chance though. It’s also a good thing to ease the NXT logjam that keeps people in their same spots forever, either on TV or off. Although at least now some of them get to be on TV by being the audience, so there’s that. Say what you will about WWE being slow to the draw by finally introducing a live paid audience weeks after AEW did, but they’ve already had the second best fan moment of the pandemic era:

Number one is still Dr. Britt Baker DMD hitting Cody with her shoe, and I don’t see that getting topped. Actually, hold up, I think I just came up with a column for this week, or sometime pretty soon. So let’s not spoil any more of that future piece of business.

Drew Gulak is back with WWE after briefly becoming a free agent. There was a bit of disparity between what WWE wanted to give Gulak and what Gulak thought he was worth, which led to negotiations taking longer than expected. As things turned out on television, nobody knew Gulak was gone for any period of time except people like us that are obsessed with wrestling news. Hopefully Drew got a good deal. It could have been fun to see him reunite with some old friends in another promotion, but it does seem like WWE has some interest in using him right now. Hope it stays that way!

Samoa Joe is still waiting to get cleared from a concussion. The Wrestling Observer & many other sources expect to see him behind the announce table going forward, and if he does get cleared it’s unlikely he’ll be working a full-time schedule in the ring. Joe being on television constantly should help any future matches he has garner an extra bit of interest. Joe is 41 years old and has a ton of miles on his tires, so it is about that time to make the next transition in his career. He’s also good at announcing, which always helps.

This appears to leave Jerry Lawler out of the mix, which I would assume is perfectly fine with the King. He previously said he was only interested in coming back to Raw commentary as a favor, and would be happy to step aside when he was no longer needed. Lawler’s absence solves a couple of problems for WWE: it’s a bad look to have a 70+ year old flying around during a pandemic, and if he’s not there he can’t make “ramen noodle moonsault” jokes. Everybody wins here.

In other announcing news, Nigel McGuinness was among the names furloughed by WWE during the pandemic. Kurt Angle is already back on television again and his name was on that list, so all bets are off as to when we could see some of these people. Might be next week, might be next year. Depends on how that profit margin is looking.

Chris DeJospeh was released by WWE this week. He had been working as one of the top writers for SmackDown, reporting to Bruce Prichard. PWInsider noted that DeJoseph had received a promotion in the last week or so. My assumption was that he wrote the opening segment of this past Friday’s show, and somebody important watched it. reported that DeJoseph was released due to inappropriate conduct & remarks during a backstage meeting that infuriated Vince McMahon. I’d love to hear more about that. I’d also love to see some footage of that. In any event, I never get too wrapped up in WWE writer comings & goings because they’re all Vince’s shows. I never notice much of a difference when a writer arrives or leaves.

Kairi Sane had one of the worst weeks one can imagine. Reports came out this past week that she was one of the first people that saw Hana Kimura’s social media posts and alerted people she knew in STARDOM to the situation. Just to show that no good deed goes unpunished, Kairi had her head busted open on the ring steps during a match with Nia Jax at the Raw tapings. You can guess how the reaction to that went. Fans were outraged at Nia Jax. WWE didn’t blame Nia Jax. That’s how it’s going to go as long as Nia Jax wrestles for WWE. I think all we can hope for is that Kairi doesn’t have to wrestle Nia anymore.

AEW News

I have to admit that I thought Double or Nothing would be way down from AEW’s previous PPV efforts as far as buys go. It didn’t feel like the buzz was there. Apparently it was, as Mike Johnson & Dave Meltzer are both reporting that the show did better than expected. In fact, it may have been the most purchased AEW PPV thus far. Even if AEW’s overall viewership is down, they’re turning more of those viewers into PPV buyers.

The one thing that generated the most negative comments online from the PPV was a spot in the Stadium Stampede match where Matt Hardy was drowned in a swimming pool so he could change into a different character. As Matt’s wife Reby pointed out, it’s a spot he’s done for five years now. Usually it was at the Hardy Compound in the Lake of Reincarnation, but Matt changing into different characters after going into water is nothing new. However, Chris Jericho did admit that the segment of the match could have been thought out better, and he understands why people would have been offended by it.

My Take: If they found the same icebox they used for Matt/Kenny vs. Le Sex Gods, nobody would have thought anything of it. Sometimes you just gotta read the room. Even if you personally loved Shad Gaspard and didn’t mean to invoke his memory in any way, you need to know that doing something similar to what led to his death will rub people the wrong way. Matt’s a smart guy and he’ll learn from it. We won’t see him drowning for awhile. Everything else about the Stadium Stampede match seemed to be a major success and I expect it to be a drawing card for AEW going forward, much to the dismay of the second-most beloved Kentuckian in pro wrestling.

Clutch Adams had a match taped for AEW Dark to air this coming Tuesday. It could have been a big deal for him to work Shawn Spears on YouTube, but now that won’t be airing. See, Adams had to go and be a homophobe on social media. 411mania was all over this story. Adams claimed that he couldn’t get booked in Beyond Wrestling because he isn’t “butt buddies” with the promoter. The tweet in question was deleted after Beyond Wrestling called him out and said they wouldn’t be booking him anymore.

Of course, once you make one social media faux pas, people start looking back in your history to find some more. I’m not a huge fan of this, as I feel that people do have the capacity for change and most of us would shudder at things we said years ago whether they were offensive or not. That being said, it was a bad time for people to find out that Adams made all kinds of racist and homophobic tweets seven years ago. That, along with I presume knowledge of Adams’ recent tweets, led to his match being removed from this week’s AEW Dark.

I’m sure some will get mad over Adams’ freedom of speech being violated or some such thing. Here’s the thing: Beyond is an independent wrestling promotion. They can book any indy wrestler they want. They don’t have to book somebody if they’re not inclined to, for whatever reason they want. Also, last I checked, referring to people with homophobic slurs publicly isn’t a good way to get on their good side. As for AEW, they can find anybody to job to Shawn Spears on Dark. Its an easy slot to fill. There’s no reason for them to risk it on somebody that is prone to outbursts on social media, or in real life for that matter. Dark is a big opportunity, and we’ve seen AEW hire indy talent that show something in a match with an AEW regular.

Simply put, Clutch Adams couldn’t have chosen a worse time to shoot his mouth off. If I was in that position, you wouldn’t hear a damn thing from me on social media from that Wednesday until the next Tuesday except plugs for AEW Dark and my match. Sure, if world events intervene you can comment on those, and hopefully in a way that won’t get you noticed in a negative light, but why would you go out of your way to talk shit? Makes no sense whatsoever.

Adams did post a heartfelt apology, and one hopes that he will learn from this experience and be better going forward. I will say that I’m not buying his explanation of “butt buddies” being “slang for being close or tight with someone”. Unless verbiage has changed since the days I hung out with people immature enough to use the term, I think it’s pretty obvious what’s being insinuated there. Like I said, I hope he learns and gets better.

One could argue that this would also justify independent promoters that don’t want to book wrestlers that aren’t homophobic & racist. We’ve heard about promoters making suggestions to wrestlers not to be activist, or simply hashtagging Black Lives Matter. My response? Those promoters are entitled to their decision. They should put their name on it, so we know where they stand. Beyond made it perfectly clear where they stand. AEW made their move If other promotions want to favor racism or other phobias, or excuse them in the name of talent, they should be decent enough to let the consumer know. Makes sense to me.

Danny Havoc

Right around the time I was going to put the finishing touches on this column, I was alerted to the passing of Danny Havoc. Havoc was most known for his lengthy stint with Combat Zone Wrestling, a promotion he watched rabidly as a teenager and wanted to wrestle for. So he flew out from Iowa to do just that, and they didn’t really have a school at the time. This was around when CHIKARA & CZW had combined their wrestling schools, and Havoc ended up learning a lot from Mike Quackenbush & Chris Hero. Now, you might not think Havoc learned a lot from those two considering most of his matches ended up being deathmatches, but it did give him the basics, and I think Havoc’s creative side was helped along by both Quack & Hero, two wrestling masterminds.

My childhood best friend & I watched a ton of CZW during my visits to his residence over the years, and we saw most of Havoc’s early work. Danny was willing to take an absolute beating from anybody on the roster, which served to get him over with a CZW audience that could be really tough to impress. It wasn’t surprising to learn that Danny was one of the most widely respected men in the CZW locker room.

It also wasn’t surprising to learn that Havoc put a lot of thought into his deathmatches. Havoc had a retirement match with Alex Colon for CZW that actually stuck for a couple of years, and it was interesting to see the drawings he made to plan out spots for the match, which were showcased when Vice’s The Wrestlers series aired an episode on deathmatch wrestling. A lot of people dismiss deathmatch wrestling as mindless blood & guts with no rhyme or reason, and there are a lot of those matches that fall into that trap, but the best at the craft really shine through. Danny Havoc was one of those guys whose deathmatches always had some meaning.

Havoc had a return match for Matt Tremont’s H20 promotion in 2019, and took part in a Game Changer Wrestling tour of Japan this year. He also competed on a GCW show in Cleveland in March, which would have been one of the last indy shows to take place before the coronavirus shut everybody down. I assume Havoc decided he was returning somewhere else than CZW when DJ Hyde botched buying glass for his retirement match.

Anybody that watched Danny Havoc assumed he wouldn’t live to the average life expectancy. The guy was born two years after I was. That’s way too soon. Sadly, we have to end this edition of the Corner paying respect to somebody that left this world way too soon.

I’m making no promises for next week. Calling my shot obviously didn’t work.

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Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?



John Cena Last Match Randy Orton WWE WrestleMania 41

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?

John Cena recently appeared on the Pat McAfee Show, the Monday after his surprise (but mostly expected) WrestleMania 40 appearance during Cody Rhodes’ win over Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Championship. During that appearance, he confirmed what many expect, that he is nearly done with his in-ring career. But Cena even tossed out the idea of a time-frame, detailing that his acting schedule will likely take him through Christmas, and maybe Hollywood could “pump the brakes” to allow for one final run.

That run could easily begin at the Royal Rumble with a surprise entrance (or entering himself via TV appearances as part of the build), with a tease for his 17th world title win before finally settling in on his final match.

Fantasy booking and storytelling aside, the goal here is the final match–more specifically the final opponent. With a John Cena, you’ve got a ton of options. As such, it’s hard to narrow it down to 5, and one of your favorites is likely missing–be warned!

Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Miz – A feud with John Cena gave The Mix a WrestleMania 27 main event–and a WrestleMania  main event victory on top of it. Miz has been receiving more love than ever lately, and a match with John Cena would not be misplaced. Maybe he can use their WrestleMania 33 contest (and Cena’s personal aftermath) as fodder for it, too.
  • AJ Styles – The man who once made it popular to “BEAT UP JOHN CENA” is also nearing the end of his run, and could be the one candidate on this list that could realistically give us a double-retirement match. He would also be the guy who retired both The Undertaker and John Cena (and would probably end up being the guy who lost in both).
  • The Rock or Cody Rhodes – Both great options, but you have to figure their dance card for WrestleMania 41 is already full, potentially standing across the ring from one another. Either is an amazing option (including “Thrice In A Lifetime”), but I just don’t think it’s in the cards.
  • Trick Williams – Potentially a surprising addition to the Honorable Mentions, but the comparisons are there in terms of in-ring style/ability, promo skills, and the interplay they had in NXT (remember, it was Cena who is credited with encouraging Trick to not be afraid to go for it himself despite his relationship with Carmelo Hayes).

5. CM Punk

The fifth spot on this list was nearly interchangeable between several of the honorable mention names, but it really came down to Punk and Seth Rollins for me (with a hint of AJ Styles). The 2011 feud between CM Punk and John Cena was legendary, and is a moment that will forever be seen by me as the one that truly cemented CM Punk as a member of the growing list of all-time greats in WWE.

Punk is uniquely qualified for this match as he would make it mean more than a showboat for John Cena’s career and final match. It’s entirely believable that CM Punk would want to put John Cena’s career into the ground, and WWE has the video archive to support it.

Despite being #5, this could actually be a dark-horse for the match we get, and I can’t see anyone reasonably being upset about that.

4. Roman Reigns

John Cena and Roman Reigns have had two separate legendary programs. the first saw Cena, at times, embarrass Roman in promo exchanges in a feud that took place in the “pre-Tribal Chief” era. The second is more fresh and likely more memorable, as John Cena put Roman Reigns over in a football stadium in Las Vegas at SummerSlam (although it might be more remembered for the return of Brock Lesnar).

Reigns, a legend himself at his point (he’s featured alongside Steve Austin at the top of the “Forever” portion of the Then/Now/Forever/Together video that recently debuted) would provide a pairing akin to The Undertaker serving as Shawn Michaels’ retirement opponent at WrestleMania 26 9notice I didn’t say “final opponent). The end of Roman’s 1316 day world title reign has brought about a new appreciation for Reigns, which would further enhance this pairing at WrestleMania 41.

3. Bron Breakker

Bron Breakker is the picture-perfect definition of a juggernaut in WWE, a fast rising star who almost seems like a lock to main event WrestleMania one day (you never know–Seth Rollins JUST got his first WrestleMania main event last weekend). Breakker recently said farewell NXT as the natural in-ring competitor makes a transition to full-time main roster competition.

Breakker also fits the category of who “needs it.” Bring the man to retire John Cena would be quite the feather in the cap of Breakker’s early career, and would give him a moment that would be relived for generations to come. The only question mark is WWE “trusting” Breakker with this moment, as a sudden change of character could mean that Cena’s final match wouldn’t be seen or discussed as much. Breakker, to me, has given no reason for anyone to suspect that might happen, regardless of any controversies his father and uncle have been linked to.

2. R-Truth

Despite being 5-years older than John Cena, and making his in-ring debut in the same year (1999), R-Truth’s childhood hero hanging up the boots will undoubtedly be a hard-hitting moment for the  man who has basically become the WWE Mascot. Truth emulating Cena in his matches, and of course the RawAfterMania moment with Cena, Truth, and The Miz hitting a Fifteen Knuckle Shuffle (thank you, Michael Cole) on The Judgment Day makes this a near can’t miss final match for both John Cena and the WWE Universe.

R-Truth himself is equally deserving of this match, as it would be a reward for all of his years in the ring as part of a career that seems age defying while proving that age is not only a number, but also a number that can be ignored (see Child Hero, John Cena).

While a rematch of their 2011 WWE Capital Punishment main event is an unlikely WrestleMania 41 match-up, it’s one I believe everyone would love to see.

1. Randy Orton

I mean, is there anyone more perfect? John Cena and Randy were inseparably linked for a good portion of their careers, and have shared the ring more times than Big Show has turned babyface/heel. Both are far into legendary status at this point, and Orton specifically is obviously focused on enjoying this stage of his career.

But Orton is still delivering great performances inside the ring, too.

Randy Orton vs John Cena was an exciting proposition many years ago, became a punchline for WWE booking a few years ago, but is now coming full circle as the perfect match-up to end the amazing career of John Cena. It has my vote, and should have yours, too.

Even if R-Truth would be the most fun option.

What say you? Who is the best candidate to stand across the ring from John Cena in his final WWE match, potentially at WrestleMania 41? Who did I leave out?

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Greg DeMarco’s WrestleMania 40 Saturday Results & Review

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!



Sami Zayn WrestleMania 40

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!

It all comes down to this–at least for the first night! A loaded card in front of a packed house, and I’d expect everyone to deliver one hell of a performance.

Women’s World Championship – Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Rhea Ripley retains

In my opinion, this match should be the main event of Night 1, but The Rock is back and that was going to take precedence (even if I disagree). Becky won this title shot at the Elimination Chamber, even though they were already building the feud before that event in Perth. Ripley herself main evented that event in a stadium, defeating Nia Jax.

  • It was revealed during her entrance that this is Becky Lynch’s “Flu Game,” as she has temperatures as high as 102 degrees throughout the week.
  • Rhea Ripley enters to a life performance of her entrance theme, which you can tell she dug.
  • Prime logo is center ring, just the black outline with “Prime” in the middle, and it is not at all bothersome. I can’t believe people made such a big deal out of bitching about that.
  • The stage looks dope, not at all “too small” as some had said. The whole environment looks great, honestly.
  • Rhea Ripley has been dealing with a wrist injury. She said on the Pat McAfee Show she didn’t expect to work with the wrist brace on tonight, but there it is.
  • Corey Graves points out that Becky’s training was likely impacted by her illness, and Pat McAfee scoffs at him for stating the obvious. I hope that isn’t what we get all night.
  • Commentary notes that is is 52 degrees and windy in the stadium, and I am reminded of Nick Khan’s comments about moving an outdoor WrestleMania to late April in the future, if they don’t get an indoor building (he did say “2026” when talking about that, which likely means the 2025 venue is indeed set).
  • Rhea’s Prism Trap is a fell of a submission finisher. Add in the body lock the way she did, and it’s even more impressive.
  • I just noticed the “Prime” turnbuckle pads and it’s…weird. I just didn’t expect it and can’t think of the last time we didn’t have the WWE/WWF logo on the buckles outside of Black and Gold NXT. WrestleMania 2?
  • I am also noticing that Dude Wipes seems to have sponsored the ring posts. Kudos to WWE (and the wrestling industry behind them) for being so damn desirable to sponsors!
  • That combo to get into the Riptide was fantastic–and the kickout was even better.
  • During the DisarmHer you can clearly see the commentary position, and Michael Cole is legit reclined all the way back. Love it–Cole is living his best life.
  • Rhea’s Riptide into the buckle before the proper Riptide was pretty sweet as well. Made Becky look insanely strong in defeat.

Winner via pinfall AND STILL your Women’s World Champion: Rhea Ripley

Hell of an opener, and if you didn’t know Becky was sick, you wouldn’t have known. Props to them both. That would have satisfied as a main event, but can now go down as one of the best openers in WrestleMania history.

Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships and Smackdown Tag Team Championships – DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs. Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) vs. New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) vs. A Town Down Under (Austin Theory & Grayson Waller) vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest, Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Awesome Truth (Raw titles) and A-Town Down Under (SmackDown)

As many expected, the belts are hanging separately, meaning we are most likely splitting the tag titles here. Triple H and company have put some serious work into building up the tag team divisions of both brands, and even though I expect the two winners to not be actual “teams,” but either way I actually like the way they didn’t make a big deal out of splitting the titles up, they’re just doing it. They have been defended separately since being unified, albeit rarely.

  • R-Truth makes a joke about DIY being DX and that’s now taken off. I love it.
  • The Miz is very under appreciated. Can literally do anything.
  • Someone is struggling with the “Titan Tron” videos tonight.
  • Not gonna lie, I am the biggest Pat McAfee fan, but he’s actually quite annoying right now.
  • Sign of the night: SANTA DESERVED IT.
  • Lots of green in this match, half of the teams wearing their “WrestleMania Green” gear.
  • Also, loving the Consequences Creed gear for Woods.
  • God Bless Finn Balor for taking that Airplane Spin into the ladder.
  • 205 combined years of experience in this match. That’s an average of 17 years (Waller has the least with 7, Balor and Miz are tied for the most with 23).
  • “Dunne Mountain?!?!” Thank you Michael Cole for fixing that.
  • Poor Finn Balor, not he takes the AA to the ladder after John Cena’s Five Moves Of Doom
  • Hilarious.
  • A-Town Down Under gets the SmackDown tag titles!
  • And Grayson gets tossed through a ladder, still holding a title!
  • The match does continue until the Raw tag titles are also retrieved.
  • If Theory also got the Raw tag titles down, I will laugh my ass off.
  • Birminghammer is a fantastic name for a tandem (somewhat) Burning Hammer.
  • Tornado DDT through a table!
  • Air Raid Crash from the ladder!
  • And we still have more tables set-up.
  • JD McDonagh trying to get Finn–who has taken a beating–to get the Raw tag titles.
  • McDonagh through the tables!
  • PERFECTLY placed Razor’s Edge onto that chair.
  • Dude, that ladder is trashed. (And very unsafe.)
  • AA sends Damian outside!
  • I think everyone wants R-Truth to get this. EVERYONE.
  • YES!

Winners via belt retrieval, AND NEW:

  • SmackDown Tag Team Champions – Grayson Waller & Austin Theory
  • Raw Tag Team Champions – R-Truth & The Miz

Really good Ladder Match, but it’s hard to have a bad one. The tag team titles are split and it was really well done. It made perfect sense to do it that way, not make a big deal out of it and just let it happen. I am excited to see both teams win–not because I picked both, but because I think one team (Waller/Theory) have amazing futures and the other (Miz/Truth) will be a lot of fun, even if their run will probably be short lived.

Santos Escobar (with Legado Del Fantasma members Angel, Humberto, & Elektra Lopez) & Dominik Mysterio vs. Rey Mysterio & Andrade (with The LWO members Carlito, Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, & Zelina Vega

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Dominik and Santos win, giving Dominik “revenge” for his loss at WrestleMania 39.

Look, this match doesn’t make a lick of sense–Dominik shows up two weeks ago and finds his way into another WrestleMania match with Rey? Definitely shoehorned. But Dominik is outstanding, so if this gets him on the card, I’ll take it.

  • More green in this match, and I am here for it.
  • Innovative Double Cross Body by Rey & Andrade.
  • Dominik showing experience beyond his years, making sure the ref sees his tag with Santos.
  • At this moment, I am wondering who turns–Carlito or Andrade. Gotta assume it’s one of them.
  • Three matches in and I don’t even notice the Primo logo in the center of the ring or on the turnbuckle pads.
  • Santos Escobar trying to unmask Rey Mysterio, as if we don’t all have Google.
  • Corey Graves making a great point about Rey taking some responsibility for the issues in his life, and Michael Cole immediately dismissing it.
  • It’s so hard to do a really good Dragon Screw Leg Whip, and Andrade (along with Dominik and Santos) just pulled off two to perfection.
  • Camera shot of Rey’s cross body shows the heaters above the ring. Good–keep ’em warm!
  • This could have easily been an 8-man tag team match. Maybe we get that Monday on Raw (which can also be where the turn happens, making my prediction here likely wrong).
  • Joaquin Wilde gets to do his NXT spot at WrestleMania, and that’s probably more important than officially being in the match.
  • Two masked men–definitely the Kelce Brothers–are here.
  • My bad, it was Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Good call, honestly. Great pop for them, too.
  • Looking at the reply, Dominik sold that ringpost spot like a champ.

Winners via pinfall (Rey on Santos): Rey Mysterio & Andrade

Fun tag team match that served its purpose. Needed? Maybe not, as I really wanted to get Liv Morgan vs. Nia Jax onto this card. But when you can get Rey & Dominik on the card, everyone will be happy. and of course the Jason Kelce & Lane Johnson appearances.

Brother vs Brother: Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Jimmy Uso follows in the footsteps of Owen Hart and Matt Hardy and beats the “more talented brother.”

They’ve wanted this match all their lives–and the preview video was insane. Very well done.

  • Jey in the WrestleMania whites tonight.
  • And we get a hot start to the match!
  • “Big Brother Jimmy” is always a fun thing to hear.
  • More Dude Wipes sponsorship on this one–you have to wonder if having Dude Wipes on the posts for the opener was in error.
  • Superkicks. Lots of Superkicks.
  • Very enjoyable YEET/NO chants from the crowd.
  • Jey just kicking the hell out of Jimmy, including a Jumping Super Kick.
  • This has “Fight Without Honor” feels from old school ROH, where the winners have respect after. We will definitely see these guys together again.
  • Jimmy apologizing to Jey. Crowd is not buying it.
  • Of course it was BS, and Jimmy gains the advantage.

Winner, via pinfall: Jey Uso

Jey breaks the babyface curse by beating his heel brother. Thought we might get an embrace between them, instead we faded out. A good match that was more about the story than the in-ring action. I can see some feeling like this hasn’t “lived up to expectations” because of the high expectations you’d have for an Usos match. Their best work will always be as a team, but I know this is a lifelong dream come true for both.

As for all the Superkicks, I mean….it’s an Usos match.

Six-Woman Tag Team Match – Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, & Kairi Sane) vs. Naomi, Bianca Belair, & Jade Cargill

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Bianca, Naomi, & Jade win when Jade scores the pin (probably on Kairi, who always seems to eat the fall)

This match is all about getting Bianca Belair on the card (she had to be), and Jade Cargill’s debut. It also got Damage CTRL on the card, which they truly deserve–even if it is to lose.

  • Respectfully, Dakota Kai. (Good thing the ring and surrounding area is heated)
  • Not gonna lie, Jade looks nervous. But this is a six-woman tag, and her portion is likely highly choreographed. Gonna be all good.
  • As I watch and enjoy the match (but am not typing much lol), this seems like a match where we’re all just waiting for Jade to come in and win.
  • No one has told Jade about the tag ropes yet, apparently.
  • And now Jade is in, and Damage CTRL makes her look like a million bucks.
  • Dakota Kai nicely gets herself into position for the finish, and Jade gets her WrestleMania win.

Winners via pinfall (Jade on Dakota): Jade Cargill, Naomi, & Bianca Belair

We knew what this one was about going into it, and that’s what it should have been. Jade still ain’t ready. I know it might be an “ego hit” for her to go to NXT, but she needs it. If Giulia can go to NXT, so can Jade.

Intercontinental Championship – Sami Zayn vs. GUNTHER (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Sami Zayn pulls off the major upset and is the one to dethrone Gunther

Gunther has had a stranglehold on the Intercontinental Championship, defending it like crazy in 2023 but slowing that down here in 2024. It’s not fair to say he’s outgrown the title, but that might actually be the case. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens with Imperium leading up to the draft, and at the WWE Draft itself.

  • Sami Zayn was the perfect wrestler to have their journey form backstage to the ring followed by the cameras. From his family to Chad Gable to Kevin Owens, it was all so perfect–maybe too perfect? (Not in that someone will screw him, but in that it might be too heavily foreshadowing his win?)
  • Gunther looked oddly nervous standing on that stage.
  • You know, the Intercontinental Championship is basically a third world title at this point. And we could see the end of a legendary reign. I think this deserved the Samantha Irvin In-Ring Introductions (aka “Japan Style”) treatment.
  • Gunther is smiling confidently now, we’re good.
  • Crowd is ON FIRE for these guys (and evenly split with their chants for each guy).
  • This is the 21st time the Intercontinental championship is defended at WrestleMania, and it makes you wonder what in the hell they were thinking for the other 11.
  • Looks like Dude Wipes is back on the ringpost!
  • Hell of a nearfall, followed up by a Helluva Kick from Gunthcr, and one from Sami!
  • That finish….AMAZING.

Winner via pinfall, AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn

The athletes… the moments… the storytelling… professional wrestling is such a beautiful business. Sami Zayn’s win over Gunther was everything I had hoped it would be when I picked Sami to win. Absolutely beautiful.

Cody Rhodes & World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. The Rock & Undisputed WWE Champion Roman Reigns

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Seth & Cody get the win after tons of interference and surprise appearances, making Roman vs Cody on Sunday a match where The Bloodline is banned from ringside.

So much involved in this one. As you know, If Rock & Roman win, Sunday’s WWE Championship match will be held under Bloodline Roles. If Seth & Cody win, then that mach will see ZERO Bloodline involvement. Personally, if Cody is winning the title, I’d rather it be straight up. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I am wrong.

  • Honestly, after the introductions, I realized I was just watching!
  • This was very much Steve Austin vs The Rock inspired, with them fighting all over the stadium, and pushing the envelope.
  • I loved The Rock basically neutering the referee–normally I hate that, but here it works.
  • That finish and the condition of Rollins both lay perfectly into night 2, I would imagine.

Winners via Rock pinfall on Rhodes: The Rock & Roman Reigns

Per rule, Sunday’s main event will now be Bloodline Rules. And given that, my prediction of Roman retaining might be harder to pull off. This was a good return for The Rock, and perfectly played into the whole story. Job well done.

Greg DeMarco’s Overall Thoughts for WWE WrestleMania XL, Saturday (Night 1)

in a vacuum, this was  highly enjoyable show. Night 2 might end up being legendary if both Bayley and Rhodes win, and it could overshadow Night 1. But the scene was fantastic, production was top notch as always, and the fans went home having enjoyed one for the ages. The Triple H Era s well underway, and will likely kick into a higher gear with Night 2.

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